I have invited people to share their stories – here’s the first one I received…
Hi Judy, this is our story. We don’t want to use our names in the story for obvious reasons. Also, I have attached a picture of us but not sure if it
should be used… I’m terrified of being stopped and identified at the border. What would you advise? I’m hoping to be back over for 3 months in August.
(note: I am not including the photo and I cannot advise this couple on what to do – the situation remains sad for them and for us and for all of us in this struggle…)
I first met CJ online through some mutual friends on Twitter and very quickly found myself interested in knowing more about her. Just from Twitter conversations I could see that she was intelligent, funny, and very passionate about the things that are important to her.
One day CJ asked me to join her and a couple of others on a Skype call. The first time I heard her voice I melted and now, after a year, it still has that same effect on me. We grew closer and soon we were talking through Skype on our cell phones at least three times a day; morning, noon and night. We found that we are alike in many ways, enjoy most of the same things, yet we are different in ways that complement each other.
She flew to North Carolina from the UK to visit for the first time last August. It was after that visit that I knew without a doubt that she is the woman of my dreams. When we are together, everything feels so right. When we are apart, it is quite honestly very painful. I suffer from migraines and when CJ isn’t here, I get them weekly; sometimes twice a week. When we are together I rarely get one. Every day that we are apart feels like a day wasted; a day that I should have been able to spend with the one I love; a day that I can’t get back.
Right now we should be happy. We shouldn’t be sad and hurt from being forced to live apart. We shouldn’t be worrying about how and when we can be together. For as long as I can remember I’ve had this image in my mind of the perfect woman for me. I had given up hope that she existed. But she does, and we finally found each other. Problem is, she’s not a US citizen and the US government doesn’t recognize our relationship. I may be forced to choose between my family and a good job I’ve held for 21 years or the love of my life.
T and I met online. At the start of 2010 we were both going through very difficult relationship breakups. We began Skyping and soon became to rely on each other for support. We felt like soul mates from the start. We just clicked. I think I realized about a month or so into our friendship that I was falling in love with her. Early last spring, we had planned for me to go over to the US in November for a month. But by May, November seemed so far away that we brought it forward to August. I spent a little over four weeks in NC and during that time I knew I was in love and never wanted to leave her. But I had to.
There were nights while she slept I would lay awake crying. Being there, with her, felt so right, so perfect. The parting at the airport is the most unbearable heartache, like someone is standing on you and trying to crush your chest. I blame the US officials who have passed laws that suppress our freedom to love.
I went back out for three weeks over Christmas and New Year and T is planning on coming to the UK in April for two weeks. That was going to be the next time we saw each other. Then I was in a cycling accident in February and had to take time off work. I was hurting, and I just needed to be with my girl so I flew out for a week and a half. Everything was fine except the interrogation by immigration because I’d only left the US seven weeks earlier.
I wanted to scream at her, “I’m in pain. I just want to be with my partner. Is that too much to ask?” but I couldn’t. Why do we have to feel like criminals just because we are in love with a US citizen? This is what the US government is doing. It’s punishing it’s own citizens for having fallen in love with someone from another country. It is a clear case of the government saying who its citizens can and cannot love.
T is the most loving, caring, kind hearted, generous person I have ever met. She makes me feel invincible. If I’m stressed, angry or upset, just talking to her calms me down and puts me back in my happy place. This relationship should not have to be lived primarily over Skype. I get stressed if I have to go a whole work day, for whatever reason, without hearing her voice. I miss her so, so much. We should be able to wake up together and help each other start the day, which in turn would make for a more productive workforce. I want to be there in the evening of the day for each other, to moan about the crap life throws at us, and to enjoy the good times. I want to be supportive in the build up to job interviews and celebrate promotions and to be together at such times when extended family need us.
It hurts to know that many couples take having a beer on the deck in the yard on a Friday night or arguing about what to watch on TV for granted. We do not even have those “luxuries”. To be separated by law is a crime, pure and simple.
T could move over here (UK), and I could sponsor her without any problems. However; unlike me, she has an elderly mother and very close family ties. How could I ask her to leave? That is not an option. We may relocate to Canada where it would be closer for her to fly to NC on a regular basis. That would be another loss to the US. She’s a highly skilled IT worker. How many skilled workers does the US want to lose? Until UAFA is passed or DOMA repealed, it seems like the officials don’t care. As for me, I have a Masters degree, am self employed and have no criminal record.
I know our relationship is less than a year old and some people have suffered this injustice for much longer. I hope that it really is the dawn of a new era and that all loving couples can be together. I am certain there is only one woman with whom I want to spend the rest of my life, but she is 4,000 miles away in one of the most powerful, but frustrating, democracies in the world. Don’t let it become the most backward looking. Please, repeal DOMA or at least pass UAFA in the meantime.